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Edmund. About' it;1 and write happy,2 when thou
Mark, — I say,! instantly; and carry it so,3
Captain,' I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats;4
Flourkk Enter ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, Officers, and Attendants.
. - 'Albany. Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain,5
And fortune led you well. You have the captives 'Who were the opposites6 of this day's strife: . / . We do require them of you, so to use them,
As we shall find their merits,1 and our safety,
May equally determine.
Edm. Sir, I thought it fit
To send the old and miserable king
To some retention,8 and appointed guard;.
Whose age has charms in it, whose title more,
To pluck the common bosom on his side,
And turn our impress'd lances in our eyes,
Which do command them.9 With him I sent the queen;
My reason all the same;10 and they are ready
To-morrow, or at farther space, t' appear
Where you shall hold your session. At this time
We sweat and bleed: the friend hath lost his friend;
And the best quarrels, in the heat, are curs'd
By those that feel their sharpness. —
The question 11 of Cordelia, and her father,
Requires a fitter place.
Albany. Sir, by your patience,12
1. i. e. set about it, go and do it.
2. i. e. call thyself happy, consider that thy fortune is made.
3. To carry, to carry out, to execute. Compare convey, note 2, page 14.
4. i. e. I cannot do the work of a horse.
5. Strain, race, descent.
6. Opposites, opponents.
7. Merits, deserts.
8. Rentention, custody.
9. Whose age has charms in it, and whose title has still more charms, ca
pable of winning the hearts of the common people to his side, and turning the lances of the soldiers whom we pressed into our service, against ourselves, who command them.
10. i. e. for the same reason.
11. A judicial trial was, formerly called a question; as examination under torture was called, being put to the question.
12. A polite phrase, as we should now say, with your permission.
I hold you but a subject of this war,
Regan. That 's as we list to grace him;1
Methinks, our pleasure might have been demanded,
Goneril. Not so hot:
In his own grace he doth exalt himself,
Reg. In my rights,
By me invested, he compeers4 the best
Gon. That were the most, if he should husband you.
Reg. Jesters do oft prove prophets.
Gon. Holla, holla!
That eye that told you so look'd but. a-squint.5
Reg. Lady, I am riot well; else I should answer
Gon. Mean you to enjoy him?
Albany. The let-alone lies not in your good will.8
Edmund. Nor in thine, lord.
Alb. Half-blooded fellow, yes.
Reg. Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.
Alb. Stay yet; hear reason. — Edmund, I arrest thee On capital treason; and, in thy arrest,
This gilded serpent.9 [Pointing to Gon.] — For your claim,10 fair sister,.
1. To list, to choose, to be disposed. — To grace, to favour, to dignify.
2. To speak far is used by Shakspeare for to speak magnificently.
3. On account of which close and immediate connexion with me, and direct authority from me, he is entitled to be called your brother.
4. To compeer, to be equal with.
5. The proverb is "Love being jealous makes a good eye look a-squint."
6. Stomach, among many other significations, formerly meant angry passions.
7. i. e. I surrender at discretion, I surrender everything to you.
8. Whether he shall not or shall depends not on your choice.
9. i. e. and at the same time that I arrest thee, I also arrest this gilded serpent.
10. As respects your claim, . . i. I must prohibit it, &c.
I bar it in the interest of my wife;
Goneril. An interlude!2
Albany. Thou art arm'd, Gloster. — Let the trumpet
If none appear to prove upon thy person,
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge. [Throwing down a glove.] I 'll make*
it on thy heart, Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing less Than I have here proclaim'd thee.
Regan. Sick! O, sick!4
Gon. [Aside] If not, I 'll ne'er trust medicine.
Edmund. There 's my exchange: [Throwing down a glove.'] what in the world he is That names me traitor, villain-like he lies. Call by thy trumpet: he that dares approach, On him, on you, who not?5 I will maintain My truth and honour firmly.
AH. A herald, ho!
Edm. A herald, ho! a herald!
Alb. Trust to thy single virtue;6 for thy soldiers,
Reg. My sickness grows upon me.
Alb. She is not well; convey her to my tent.
[Exit Regan, led.
1. Sub - contracted, contracted after a former contract; i. e. she is betrothed to this lord, being previously married.
2. An interlude, a farce* Goneril says this ironically.
3. To make is still used in this sense, as we say at billiards to make a ball, meaning, to pocket it — or generally to execute fully what we intend
ed; it is analogous to one meaning of to tell, as: That blow told! i. e. it went home. See note 2, page 31.
4. Regan feels the poison beginning to work which her sister has administered.
5. i. e. on whom shall I not.
6. i. e. thy own valour alone. A Roman sense of the word.
Enter a Herald.
Come hither, herald. — Let the trumpet sound,'
Captain. Sound, trumpet. [A trumpet sounds.
"If any man of quality, or degree, within the lists of the army, .will maintain upon Edmund, supposed earl of Gloster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear at the third sound of the trumpet. He is bold in his defence."
Edmund. Sound! , .[1 Trumpet.
Herald. Again. [2 Trumpet.
Hep. Again. [3 Trumpet.
[Trumpet answers within.
Enter EDGAR, armed, preceded by a Trumpet.
Albany. Ask him his purposes, why he appears Upon this call o' the trumpet.
Her. What are you?
Your name? your quality? and why you answer
Edgar. Know, my name is lost;
By treason's tooth bare-gnawn, and canker-bit:
Alb. Which is that adversary?
Edg. What 's he, that speaks for Edmund earl of
Edm. Himself: what say'st thou to him?
Edg. Draw thy sword,
That if my speech offend a noble heart,
1. To cope, to encounter; it is usually followed by with, as synonimous with contend, struggle.
2. i. e. to draw my sword is the privilege, &c.
3. The privilege of this oath means the privilege gained by taking the
oath administered in the regular initiation of a knight.
4. Maugre, in spite of, notwithstanding. Not in use.
5. Fire-new, fresh from the fire, just forged.
Thy valour, and thy heart, — thou art a traitor:
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father; v ■
Conspirarit 'gainst this high illustrious prince;
And, from th' extremest upward of thy head,
To the descent and dust below thy foot,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou, "No,"
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,1
Edmund. In wisdom, I should ask thy name;
[Alarums. They' fight. Edmund falls.
Albany. 0, save him! save him!6
Goneril. This is mere practice,1 Gloster.
By the law of arms, thou wast not bound to answer
Alb. Shut your mouth, dame;
Or with this paper shall I stop it? — Hold, Sir;9
1. To prove that upon thy heart, to which purpose I speak, namely, that Thou liest.
2. Some 'say, some assay = sample, or taste.
3. I disdain and scorn to do what, according to the strict rules of knighthood, I might do without reproach, — avoid this encounter.
4. For, because.
5. Meaning, his sword shall make a way into Edgar's heart, by which the treasons can enter, and where they shall rest for ever.
6. Albany utters this exclamation
in order to stay Edward's arm, it not being his desire that Edmund should meet instant death, and thus escape the punishment due to all his heinous crimes.
7. Practice, stratagem, machination, i. e. of Gloster's enemies. See note 1, page 33.
8. i. e. opponent. See note 6, page 102.
9. Hold, was formerly commonly said when any one presented anything to another, as we should now say here.